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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Greenhouse in Midwinter

Saturday seemed like the darkest day of the year. Ten hours of twilight followed by fourteen hours of night. Outside was a warm blanket of fog. Inside the greenhouse, the plants yawned and went back to sleep. But not our tiny Ida lata. It glowed like a candelabra.

I admit I have kind of a thing for this genus, the former Lycaste species from South America now properly called Sudamerlycaste. I love the subtle ivory and olive color. And that fringe. Sudamerlycaste is a genus for connoisseurs of lip fringe.

Sudamerlycaste fimbriata has a more robust flower, about four inches from top to bottom, with a nice sawtooth fringe. It's a ghostly presence in our dark greenhouse.

Many of the Sudamerlycaste species are suited to a cool greenhouse, but ours are, for the present, tolerating intermediate temperatures (60┬║-ish night minimum), probably because the last two summers have been uncharacteristically cool. We grow our plants in a mixture of premium long-fibered sphagnum and coarse chopped tree fern fiber.


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